The ongoing conflict within Ukraine has resulted in Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. U.N. Refugee Agency states the number of refugees has surpassed 6.2 million as of late July 2023.
The Russia-Ukraine War, a conflict that first commenced in February 2014, was provoked by the secretive entry of Russian forces into the independent republic of Crimea in Ukraine.
The conflict escalated in April 2014 as Russian forces and local proxies seized territory in Ukraine's Donbas region.
In the following seven years, the fighting in eastern Ukraine resulted in the tragic loss of over 14,000 lives.
Between October and November 2021, Russia initiated a significant build-up of 90,000. troops and military equipment near its border with Ukraine.
By February 2022, approximately 190,000 Russian troops encircled Ukraine, indicating an imminent Russian invasion.
Despite efforts to avert a seemingly inevitable Russian incursion through consultations with Zelensky and Putin, the situation escalated.
Family members accompany disabled Ukrainian children, evacuated by doctors of the Central Clinical Hospital (MSWIA) from Warsaw in a special train heading for Gdansk, near the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
26th February, 2022, Ukraine, Uzhgorod-Vyshne Nemeckoe: Refugees from Ukraine on the border with Slovakia (checkpoint "Uzhgorod-Vyshne Nemeckoe") in the Zakarpatya regions. — Photo by Fotoreserg
On February 21, 2022, Putin recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, sending Russian troops into Ukraine under the guise of "peacekeepers." Western leaders responded with sanctions against Russian financial institutions.
On February 24, 2022, Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Although Russian forces made significant territorial gains in the first days of combat, Ukrainian defenders successfully averted attempts to seize critical cities such as Kyiv.
On March 16, as many as 600 civilians were killed in the besieged city of Mariupol when a Russian air strike levelled the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theatre, serving as the city's primary bomb shelter and resulting in millions of Ukrainians having fled due to Russia's indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations using rockets and artillery bombardments.
Since the initial full-scale invasion of Ukraine, tensions have risen, and millions continue to flee in search of refuge, protection, and support.